Posts Tagged ‘developmental disabilities’

Treating for Two: Medication safety before and during pregnancy

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

 

During National Women’s Health Week this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) wants to raise awareness about the safety of medicines before and during pregnancy. March of Dimes supports them with this important message.

Many women wonder about the safety of medications during pregnancy. This is a great question that should be addressed. However the information to make educated decisions at times is limited. With this in mind, the CDC revamped their Treating for Two website to make this information easier to access.

Treating for Two is a program that provides information and resources to help women and their health care providers decide together what medication is best. CDC created this website to help close this information gap and to provide evidence-based guidance. This program will support shared decision making among women and their providers regarding medication safety before, during and after pregnancy.

According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 women in the United States take a medication during pregnancy. Chances are that you may need to take a medication during pregnancy or during the first weeks of pregnancy, when you might not even know that you are pregnant. Make sure you always discuss with your provider the safety of the medications he or she prescribes to you. Let him know if you think you are pregnant or if you have been trying to get pregnant. Some medications may cause premature birth, birth defects, neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS), miscarriage, developmental disabilities and other health problems.

What can you do?

If you need to take medications during pregnancy, discuss with your provider all your concerns. Also make sure you:

  • Take the medication exactly as your provider says to take it.
  • Don’t take it with alcohol or other drugs. (Don’t take alcohol or drugs if you are pregnant.)
  • Don’t take someone else’s medication.
  • Don’t stop taking a prescription medicine without talking to your provider first.
  • Ask your provider if you need to switch your medication to one that is safer during your pregnancy.
  • Discuss with your provider all the medications you take, like: over-the-counter medicines, herbal and dietary supplements and vitamins.

For more information about prescription and over-the counter medications visit marchofdimes.org

Thinking of having a baby? Now is the time to stop drinking alcohol

Monday, April 4th, 2016

2015D015_3603_rtYou’ve probably heard that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby. But did you know you should also stop drinking alcohol before trying to conceive?

It can be difficult to determine an accurate date of conception. It takes two weeks after conception to get an accurate pregnancy test result. This means that you may be drinking alcoholic beverages during the early stages of your pregnancy, before you learn you are pregnant.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a range of serious problems including miscarriage, premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and stillbirth. The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) states that alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities.

FASDs can be costly, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The lifetime cost for one individual with FAS in 2002 was estimated to be $2 million. This is an average for people with FAS and does not include data on people with other FASDs. People with severe problems, such as profound intellectual disability, have much higher costs. It is estimated that the cost to the United States for FAS alone is over $4 billion annually.

The good news is that FASD is entirely preventable. If you stop drinking alcohol before and during pregnancy, you can prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other conditions caused by alcohol.

So if you are trying to become pregnant or are already pregnant, steer clear of alcohol. If you have problems stopping, visit us for tips.

If you have a child with FASD, see our post on how to help babies born with FASD.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Understanding intellectual and developmental disabilities

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Raising a child with developmental disabilities is a long road filled with challenges. It is best to have information and support to help you along the way.

Since March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, it gives us an opportunity to increase understanding about these disabilities, and to get the word out on support services that exist to help families. Equally important is learning how some disabilities can be prevented.

Developmental disabilities (DDs) include a wide group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. About one in six children in the U.S. has a developmental disability or a developmental delay.

DDs are diagnosed during the developmental period or before a child reaches age 18, are life-long, and can be mild to severe. They impact a person’s ability to function well every day.

Developmental disabilities is the umbrella term that includes intellectual disabilities (formerly referred to as mental retardation), which is an impairment in intellectual and adaptive functioning. For example, individuals with intellectual disability may have problems with everyday life skills, (such as getting dressed or using a knife and fork), thinking, understanding, reasoning, speaking and the overall ability to learn. See this fact sheet to learn more.

DDs also include: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome, hearing loss, vision impairment, muscular dystrophy, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, among other disorders.

Developmental disabilities may be due to:

• Genetic or chromosomal problems
Premature birth
Exposure to alcohol during pregnancy
• Certain infections during pregnancy

However, in many cases, the cause is unknown.

Some disabilities can be prevented

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, learn how some disabilities and birth defects can be prevented.

Families need support

This blog series offers lots of resources – check out the Table of Contents for a list of what to do if you suspect your child may have a developmental delay or disability.  The series is updated every Wednesday.

You can also join our online community, Share Your Story, where parents of children with developmental delays and disabilities support one another.

In addition, here are a couple more resources:

The Arc: For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – For more than 60 years, and with nearly 700 chapters in the U.S., the ARC provides supports and services for people with disabilities and for affected families.

AIDD – According to their website, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities works to advance the concerns and interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through an array of programs funded under the Developmental Disabilities Act. AIDD is dedicated to ensuring that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are able to fully participate in and contribute to all aspects of community life in the United States and its territories.